Jess Wells: Historical Fiction: Facts and Fibs Combined…What Fun!

Five Saturdays, May 31-June 28,  2-4:30 p.m.  San Francisco
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Whether you’re intrigued by Norse settlements, your own grandmother’s journey to America, or an imaginary character from a far-away time, historical fiction can be an enchanting new outlet for your writing, transporting you and your writing into worlds that are incredibly fun to create.

“You can’t just throw a tapestry over the flat screen TV in your scene and call it historical,” says instructor Jess Wells. “There are real differences between modern life and life in the past, which require real differences in your writing. That challenge, to me, is the greatest thing about this genre: it’s like a three-dimensional chess game – the bottom layer is the character’s story, the middle layer is the unique historical setting and events, and the top layer is the language.

“Each week we’ll discuss an aspect of the craft of historical fiction, investigate research opportunities, and look at your specific projects in terms of plot development, character development, and the keys to great fiction. “My goal is to help you identify an era and an area that speak to you.  And since any story more than 50 years old is considered historical fiction, you might even be able to use your own childhood as a source of your inspiration. The possibilities are endless!”

Jess Well’d new novel, A Slender Tether (Fireship Press) is set in France in the 1300s and dramatizes the early years of Christine de Pizan, the first woman to make her living as a writer. It’s her fourth novel and second work of historical fiction.  Jess is also the author of four books of short stories and a recipient of the San Francisco Arts Commission Grant for Literature.  Her previous work, The Mandrake Broom (Firebrand, 2007) dramatizes the fight to save medical knowledge during the witch-burning times in Europe 1465-1540. She blogs at and

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